On Thursday, 2 July 2020 at 8 AM EDT/GMT-4, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the International Health Exchange and Cooperation Centre, National Health Commission of China, in cooperation with the Socialprotection.org are organizing the webinar Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and the Coronavirus Crisis – Challenges and Responses: maintaining essential health services for pregnant women and children while responding to COVID-19.
As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to spread, countries face difficult decisions with respect to balancing the demands of responding directly to COVID-19, while simultaneously engaging in strategic planning and coordinated action to maintain the delivery of essential health services. Access to basic health services is of particular concern, especially for pregnant women and children, who need to be protected from risks directly related to the outbreak but also from those linked to preventable and treatable conditions. UNICEF’s Executive Director, Ms Henriette Fore, noted that “we cannot save a child from COVID-19, and then lose many to pneumonia, measles and cholera”.
In the first quarter of 2020, the government of China has implemented a series of strategies and taken specific measures to maintain the availability and utilization of maternal and child health care services (e.g. antenatal care, newborn and child care, nutrition, mental health) through risk assessment, strategy development, innovative service delivery, and extensive health education. In order to ensure the safely operation of essential health services for women and children, China also put a lot of efforts on the protection of health providers, as well as, the nosocomial infection control. Although, facing various challenges in the response process, China is interested to work with other countries to find solutions addressing these persisting gaps.
The webinar seeks to share the experiences of China on how health systems delivered essential health services for pregnant women and children at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the challenges and responses. The webinar will also provide an opportunity to explore further cooperation on COVID-19 between China and other countries under the overall South-South cooperation strategic plan of China.